This & That Jam led us in a jam-making workshop today. This local jam-making company makes inventive jams with local ingredients. Drawing on what was available at the farm, we set out to make a parsnip jam.
First, we chopped up all the veggies.
While we chopped parsnips, Ben (above) told us that parsnip jam is pretty much only made in Tasmania. While the Tasmanians were decimated by colonialism, the colonialists that remained have continued to make parsnip jam. They usually make it with some lemon juice and sugar, but the one we made was a lot more interesting with garlic, rosemary, rice vinegar, a little powdered mustard, and, of course, sugar.
Then, we boiled everything together:
And then we added sugar and let it boil til it started thickening up. We poured it in jars that had already been boiled to sanitize them. With jam in and the lids on, we boiled the jars to get them to seal. Now the jam can hang out in a pantry for up to a year and still be just as good as when it went in the jars.
I LOVE cheese. Most people LOVE cheese. But have you ever considered how cheese is made? It seems too complicated to even ponder doing yourself, right? Here’s what I knew before Friday’s cheese-making workshop: Step 1) Get some cow or goat’s milk. 2) Somehow (through a bacterial process, maybe? (ewww, gross!)) transform it into this tasty tasty substance that we all love so much. A group of students, staff, and I now know a whole lot more about how to make this delicious food. We learned how to make (and eat) mozzarella and ricotta. We also tackled the first stages of cheddar, which then needs to age a bit before it’s ready to eat. Here’s a visual overview of the process:
Heating the milk in stainless steel pots.
With a little acid, the curds begin to separate from the whey.
Scooping the curds from the whey to then further drain the curds.
Through a process of heating, kneading, and stretching the curds, we made mozzarella.
A press (homemade from PVC piping, a wooden block, and a heavy brick) for draining the whey from the cheddar over several weeks.
On Saturday, Duke students and Durham community members came out in force to learn how to grow mushrooms. Woodfruit Farm and professors from the Duke Mycology Lab split us into two groups, one stationed outside focusing on Shitake mushrooms and the other in the greenhouse working on Oyster mushrooms.
For the Shitake team, first the owner of Woodfruit Farm drilled shallow holes in the logs provided by Duke Forest on his table cleverly rigged with wheels to easily rotate the logs.
Next, we helped inoculate the logs with Shitake mushrooms’ spawn (an actively growing mushroom culture) using a special inserting device.
Then we painted the holes with hot beeswax to seal the in the Shitake spawn.
Over in the greenhouse, we stuffed doubled-up plastic bags with pastuerized straw and Oyster mushroom spawn, tied them tight, and then poked holes in the bags.
We prepped dozens of bags of straw and logs to grow mushrooms. With the staff and volunteers at Duke Campus Farm keeping them happy and moist, they should be sprouting thousands of mushrooms soon – yum!